About & Contact
Shelagh Swanson Studio
Shelagh Swanson, a farmer's daughter from Caithness, graduated in 2004 from Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen with BA (Hons) Fine Art/Painting. After graduation she discovered a passion for glass, in particular Fused Glass, at the International Centre of Excellence, North Lands Creative. Subsequent masterclasses and residencies in the UK and USA strengthened her knowledge of the medium. After 10 years establishing her artistic career in Aberdeen, she recently returned to Caithness where she creates work in both Painting and Glass to commission and for exhibition from her rural studio. Well known for her bold and expressive painterly aesthetic, her works are an emotional response to her surroundings. Recurring themes include her relationship to and experiences of landscape. Passionate about working within a community context, she has completed a number of participatory projects and residencies. Swanson now mainly works to commission with recent clients including The Silver Darling Restaurant, DC Thomson and Vattenfall. Her work is held internationally in both private and public collections
Her studio is currently being renovated and will be open by appointment in 2022
1982 BORN - THURSO, CAITHNESS, SCOTLAND
2000 - 2004 BA(HONS) FINE ART/PAINTING GRAY'S SCHOOL OF ART, ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND
2007 MASTERCLASS WITH SILVIA LEVENSON - NORTH LANDS CREATIVE GLASS, LYBSTER, SCOTLAND
2008 MASTERCLASS WITH ANN WOLFF - NORTH LANDS CREATIVE GLASS, LYBSTER, SCOTLAND
2009 MASTERCLASS WITH STEVE KLEIN AND KAFFE FASSETT - NORTH LANDS CREATIVE GLASS, LYBSTER, SCOTLAND
2014 TEACHER'S WORKSHOP - BULLSEYE GLASS CO, PORTLAND, OREGON, USA
2016 ART BUSINESS SPRING SCHOOL - CHRISTIES AUCTION HOUSE, LONDON
SELECTED CORPORATE CLIENTS
Verus Petroleum - The Oil and Gas Technology Centre - Vattenfall - DC Thomson - Opportunity North East - The Press And Journal - Scottish Business in The Community - Aberdeen And Grampian Chamber of Commerce - The Silver Darling Restaurant - Aberdeen City Council - NHS Grampian -The Archie Foundation - CLAN - Grampian Food Forum - Stork Technical Services -Wood Group - Stronachs Solicitors - Dana Petroleum - KCA Deutag - Imajica Brand Evolution - Jump Marketing
2017 David Welch Winter Gardens, Aberdeen
2017 Musa, Aberdeen
2016 Pentland Fine Art, Aberdeen
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Oil and Glass, Aberdeen
2012 Fonthill Road Gallery, Aberdeen
2009 Timespan Gallery - Helmsdale
2007 "The Mill" T3UK, Janetstown, Caithness
2006 "Dereliction" University of the Highlands and Islands, Wick Campus, Caithness
2004 ‘AB Alec Broon’ St Fergus Gallery, Wick, Caithness
2022 Aberdeen Artists Society - Aberdeen Art Gallery
2021 Society of Scottish Artists - Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh
2021 "Maggie's Extravaganza" Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh
2021 Lindsey Gallacher Studio, Thurso
2020 North East Ensemble Eion Stewart Fine Art - Stonehaven
2018 2D Show - Aberdeen Artists Society Annual Exhibition- Haddo House
2018 "Experimental Use Of Space" Aberdeen Artists Society - Haddo House
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020,2021 The Butterworth Gallery, Ballogie, Aberdeenshire
2017 "Our Bodies Imprint" Haddo Country Park
2017 Alien Hole Gallery, Inverness
2016 Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen
2016 Walton Fine Art, Knightsbridge, London
2016 Clifton Fine Art, Bristol
2016 Holburn Gallery, Aberdeen
2015 Three Man Show - Pentland Fine Art, Aberdeen alongside Joe Fan RSA and Philip Braham.
2015 Group Show - Pentland Fine Art, Aberdeen
2014, 2015 Mixed Show - The Green Gallery, Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire
2013, 2014 Society of Aberdeen Artists Annual Exhibition - Aberdeen Art Gallery
2014 Mixed Show - "Artist of the Month" Larks Gallery, Ballater
2013, 2014 Mixed Show - The Richard Colquhoun Gallery, Aberdeen inc Calum Colvin RSA OBE, John Bellany RA RSA CBE, Alan Robb RSA, Derrick Guild RSA
2013 "Portfolio" St James's Place Wealth Management, Aberdeen
2011 Mixed Show - Rosemount Gallery, Aberdeen
2010 "Vitreous North" Timespan Gallery, Helmsdale
2010 "Take Thirty" 30 Year Anniversary Exhibition - Broadfield House Glass Museum, West Midlands
2001-2010 ‘Society of Caithness Artists, Thurso
2008 “Glass Paper Paint” North Lands Creative Glass, Lybster
2008 ‘Found In Translation’ Red House Glass Cone, Stourbridge, West Midlands
2007 ‘Lassies’ St Fergus Gallery, Wick
2007 ‘Latitudes’ Recent Highland Graduates Exhibition. Tour of Highland Council Galleries
2006 ‘Contrasts’ Caithness Arts Festival Exhibition, St Fergus Gallery
2006 ‘Caithness Arts Week Exhibition’ Wick College, Caithness
2006 ‘Face North’ Lyth Arts Centre, Caithness
2006 Highland Open - Swanson Gallery, Thurso - St Fergus Gallery, Wick - Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
2004 - 2006 Wick Town Improvements, Wick, Caithness
2006 "Two Caithness Artists" Flitch Art Gallery, Greater Dunmow, Essex
2006 Inverness Airport Exhibition, Inverness
2006 ‘Makars in Progress’ Exhibition by ‘The Freswick Group’, St Fergus Gallery, Wick, Caithness
2005 ‘Cornucopia’ Swanson Gallery, Thurso, Caithness
2005 ‘Horizon - A showcase of Caithness Art and Crafts’ St Fergus Gallery, Wick, Caithness
2004 ‘New Generation Show’ Compass Gallery, Glasgow.
2004 ‘RSA Annual Student Exhibition’ The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh
SELECTED WORK EXPERIENCE
May 2004 – Present Practising Artist
Full-time, established Artist specialising in Painting and Glass, creating work to commission and for exhibition for private and corporate clients. Specialist in statement pieces for interiors.
2013 – Present Ambassador - Women’s Enterprise Scotland
Women’s Enterprise Scotland Ambassadors seek to inspire, motivate, engage and connect with women-led start-up and growth businesses, with the objective of increasing the
contribution of women’s enterprise to the Scottish economy
August 2021 – Treestories Residency – Duthie Park
Artist Residency during which I led school age children through a series of workshops to celebrate their relationship to Duthie Park. This culminated in the design and installation of a community mural in the park. Photographs of happy memories of the Park were sent in by the public, printed onto tiles and incorporated into the final design.
Summer 2021 - Artist – “Light the North”
Sculpture trail in Aid of CLAN
November 2019/August 2020 Commissioned Artist - Community Mural, Banchory
Commissioned by Elev8 Arts and ADP South Community Forum to deliver series of workshops and design/install community mural at Bellfield Rose Garden, to decrease the social stigma experienced by recovering addicts. In collaboration with Artist Mary Butterworth. Installation was delayed due to Covid Restrictions in early 2020
Sep/Oct 2019 - Everyday Heroes – Commissioned Artist
Commissioned by Aberdeen Inspired (BID) to extend the “Everyday Heroes” Wall, an initiative that saw local “Heroes” nominated by the public, then celebrated through the creation and installation of a series of mosaic plaques in Aberdeen City Centre. Original concept by Artist Carrie Reichardt
Summer 2019 - Oor Wullie BIG Bucket Trail – Selected Artist
Scultpure trail in aid of the Archie Foundation.
March – July 2019 – Commissioned Artist – Recovery Tree - Stonehaven
Commissioned by Elev8 Arts and ADP South Community Forum to deliver series of workshops and design/install community mosaic on Stonehaven Beach Front, to decrease the social stigma experienced by recovering addicts. In collaboration with Artist Mary Butterworth.
April 2019 – Nuart Aberdeen
Reinstallation of Carrie Reichardt’s “Everyday Heroes” mosaic, including fabrication of panels, facilitation of community workshops and site installation. Assistant to Artist Ememem
May 2018 – September 2018 Community Artist for Vattenfall UK
Commission to create a series of Artworks for permanent display in the Vattenfall offices in collaboration with the local community, to celebrate the installation of the Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm
June 2018 “Seeking Stillness” International Residency at North Lands Creative Glass, Lybster
Facilitated by Artists Steve Klein and Richard Parrish, I took part in this collabortive Residency alongside 10 other international artists.
April 2018 – Assistant to Carrie Reichhardt – Nuart Aberdeen
January 2018 Site Specific Commission for the Silver Darling Restaurant - Aberdeen
Commission of a large scale glass sculpture and heritage decoupage as part of the refurbishment of the restaurant. Historic photographs gathered from the local community were incorporated into the final design.
August/September 2017 Artist in Residence Duthie Park, Aberdeen
During this residency I worked with around 1000 members of the local community including 3 primary schools, and a group from Dementia Aware to design, create and install a large scale Mosaic, which is now a permanent fixture of the David Welch Winter Gardens. Alongside this, I developed a body of work which was displayed in the gardens in November 2017 https://www.facebook.com/sswansonartist/videos/1753592711326990/
Summer 2017 Friends of Anchor 20for20 Sculpture Trail
Selected to paint one of 20 Anchors that formed the 20for20 Anchor trail in aid of Friends of Anchor ; my design is inspired by the ship building heritage of Aberdeen https://www.shelaghswanson.com/single-post/2017/04/19/Anchor-Ahoy
April – July 2017 The Fittie Mosaic Mural project.
The public were asked to collect pieces of glass and ceramic from the shoreline and donate to the project, which, when enough was gathered, was used in the making of a mural on the walls outside my studio. https://www.shelaghswanson.com/single-post/2017/04/11/Imagination-Sparking-Walls
March 2017 - The Marvellous Mosaic Project – Celebrating 40 Years of Bower Primary School
I acted as Artist in Residence at Bower Primary, Caithness to facilitate the design and creation of a fused glass mosaic, which, inspired by their local surroundings, was installed on the school frontage to commemorate it's 40th birthday.
Summer 2016 Oor Wullie Bucket Trail – Dundee
Selected to paint one of the “Oor Wullies” that formed the Bucket Trail, in aid of the Archie Foundation. The design commemorated 2016 being Scotland's Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, and featured 20 illustrations of iconic Scottish architecture.
June 2015 – June 2016 Managing Director – Pentland Fine Art - Aberdeen
Founder and manager of Pentland Fine Art Dealers and gallery, representing established names in Scottish Art, including Calum Colvin, Alan Robb, Arran Campbell Ross and Joe Fan.
Responsible for all day to day operations, to include
Curation of exhibitions
Liaising with artists and customers
Appraisals/valuations of Fine Art
Business Planning and Development
Marketing and PR.
November 2015 - Relief Lecturer of Art, North East Scotland College, Gallowgate, Aberdeen
Provided a period of cover until permanent staff could be found; delivering modules in Mixed Media and Life Drawing to HNC and HND students.
May 2012 – June 2015 Owner – Oil and Glass, Aberdeen
Founder and manager of Oil and Glass, Painting and Glass Studio, responsible for all day to day operations, to include
Painting and glass making to create work for sale
Teaching Workshops/Workshop Development
Curation of exhibitions
Staff management and training
Liaising with artists
Sales/ Customer Service
Business planning and development
Marketing and PR
Coordination of multiple satellite sales opportunities (market stalls, craft fairs, pop up shops)
Throughout my time at Oil and Glass I enjoyed teaching regular classes to a number of individuals and groups of all ages from the local community including – Young People from the Aberdeen Guarantees Scheme, Maryfeld West Care Home, Momentum Brain Injury Services, local schools, business groups as well as offering “Introduction to fused glass Workshops” and drop in sessions to the general public.
I also held a number of charity and community events, two of the most memorable being: 24 Hour Arty People, when over a period of 24hours myself and guest artists created various artworks , which were then sold via silent and online auction. The proceeds were donated to Momentum Brain Injury Services. The Torry Window Project, when I curated a show from the 2013 Gray's School Degree Show and displayed work, not only in Oil and Glass, but also in a number of windows in Torry, transforming the community into an open-air gallery for 2 weeks.
I also hosted a number of Artist Residencies for new Gray's Graduates and Work Experience placements, for both school pupils and those looking to get back into the workplace, in collaboration with the Shaw Trust and Momentum Brain Injury Services.
March 2015 -Assistant to Steve Klein and Richard Parrish, Bullseye Glass Company, Portland Oregon
Assistant to the artists in the creation of a series of glass windows for the Temple Beth Sholom, Orange County, USA - https://www.fusiostudio.com/temple-beth-sholom
February 2015: “First Light” Symposium, The Arctic Glass Studio – Berlevag, Norway
I was one of 10 International Artists selected to take place in this special project, curated by US artists Steve Klein and Richard Parrish, where we collaboratively developed work in response to the theme.
June 2010: Artist in Residence, North Lands Creative Glass
During this Residency I worked with various community groups to design and create a glass map of Caithness, to capture the community's thoughts and ideas about their surrounding area.
November 2008 – May 2010: Adult Arts Education and Reminiscence Tutor, The Highland Council, Wick
3 weekly workshops with residents of Pulteney House Care Home and users of the Laurandy Day Care Centre, covering a wide variety of arts and crafts-based activities combined with reminiscence.
January 2010 – May 2010: Caithness Arts Co-ordinator
March 2010 Guest Curator, Timespan, Helmsdale, Sutherland
Co curated “A Vitreous North,” Works by International Artists from the North Lands Creative Glass Collection
August 2004 – May 2010: Lead Gallery Attendant, St Fergus Gallery, Wick
I was responsible for the day to day running of the Gallery including
Set up/break down of monthly changing exhibitions,
Welcoming visitors and interpretive duties to improve their visit
Provision of art workshops and talks for schools and community groups,
Condition reports and monitoring of exhibits,
Curation of special exhibitions
Sales and Marketing
Liasing with artists and partners, including the Caithness Ranger Service and North Highland Archives.
During my time at the gallery I founded the “Foyer Gallery” which celebrates the work of local artists on an ongoing basis.
November 2009: Visiting Artist, Keiss Primary School, Caithness
Pupils were led through a series of drawing, collage and mosaic workshops in order to create 6 large mosaics for their school frontage
October 2006 – December 2008 Evening Class Lecturer in Art/Relief Staff, North Highland College, Wick and Thurso Campus.
Twice weekly art lessons provided to the public.
August 2008: Visiting Artist, The International Festival of Glass, Stourbridge, West Midlands
Introduction to Fused Glass Workshop at Broadfield House Glass Museum, as part of the festival programme
May 2008: Visiting Artist, “The Mural Project” Thurso & Wick Youth Clubs
A series of workshops with centre users, over a period of 6 weeks (aged 11 -17) to design and create a graffiti wall mural using stencils, which expressed their feelings of what it is like to be a teenager in Thurso.
January to April 2008 – Artist in Residence, Broadfield House Glass Museum and Red House Glass Cone
During this Residency 50% of my time was spent developing new works in fused glass and mixed media, with the remainder being time spent working with the local community. I facilitated several workshops with local schools, community groups and centre staff, gave drawing tours of the Museum and introduced them to Fused Glass Techniques. This project had two outcomes, by the end of the residency the visiting community groups created a large fused glass mural, inspired by the Red House Glass Cone (where it is now on permanent display) and a permanent fused glass studio was established, to be used by the community in the future.
April, May and July 2007 Visiting Artist, Ormlie Community Association
I led several workshops in a variety of Arts based activities, including drawing, collage, working with found objects, construction, and mural painting.
June 2007 Visiting Artist – Pennyland School, Thurso
I worked with pupils to create a series of faux stained glass murals on glass dividing walls in the school using glass paints and decals.
February – August 2006 pARTners Residency, North Lands Creative Glass and Lyth Arts Centre, Caithness
During this residency I collaborated with a writer and a glassmaker to provide various community groups with workshops, including after school groups, day care centre user groups and to residents of residential care homes for the elderly and with severe special needs. The participants were led through reminiscence and storytelling workshops, which they then interpreted visually through various media, which in turn inspired glass pieces, made on visits to North Lands Creative Glass. Time was also spent creating work inspired by the local area. The residency culminated with a month-long exhibition at Lyth Arts Centre, which featured both the artist's work and that of the community participants.